How Bazaar?

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Madhuban Heritage GuestHouse

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waking up in a snuggly, warm gorgeous room with a balcony and views over the city was wonderful. We loved the Travellors Inn in Bombay, but no window gets claustrophobic, and Madhuban is a very special place. It is a genuine heritage home, with all of the features and furniture to fit. The family who run it used to rule a nearby area and now employ the most helpful staff we have encountered. There were legions of them, in a brilliant uniform which included a military style beret, always hanging around eager to help with everything. The hotel also has two very cheeky, cute dogs who were wearing little coats because it was very cold for them (turns out Dad wasn't far off with his packing – its pretty cold at night up North) The only cloud on the horizon was the strong possibility that Dan’s flight would be cancelled due to heavy snow in England so Mikey and I got straight onto the internet to look up BA flight information and couldn’t believe it that out of all the flights cancelled , Dan’s was scheduled to leave!! Phew!

Breakfast was a feast and they even had proper coffee. Over scrambled eggs and peanut butter and marmite toast we decided to relax today and just take the Lonely Planet recommended walking tour of the old city. Serr Singh the hotel driver dropped us at New Gate and the city didn’t disappoint. The pink (although I would call them orange actually) walls were spectacular and wandering through crammed bazaars brilliant fun. We bought all sorts of random stuff, bargaining hard made much easier by the fact that all the shops had variants of the same stuff. Shopping here was amazingly hassle free, lunch in LMB hotel delicious and the Palace of the Four Winds beautiful, with spectacular views. Looking at the map after the Palace we realised we’d only done about a third of the tour, but shopping had tired us out and we were ready to get back to our lovely hotel and chill by the pool.
Although they just about trusted Mikey and I to cycle the 4500 miles to Bombay,  Mum and Dad were desparately worried about their beloved helpless son arriving in Dehli on his own, so after much negotiation and discussions with different people I eventually booked a hotel in Dehli to pick up him from the airport and to drive him to Jaipur in the morning. That done, we drank more gin and tonics (Mum bought 2 litres Duty free we have to drink) and ventured out to get a rickshaw to a lonely planet recommendation for supper
    Stoppping the first one we saw that stopped we started negotiating a fee, when we heard loud shouting from across the street. A tiny man came sprinting over the road and said there was a queue system and begged us to let him take us. As the other chap was not budging on his high price anyway we agreed, and the little man ran back across the road to get his rickshaw. After 5 minutes we started to get a bit annoyed and couldnt work out what had happened to him. Another rickshaw came and offered to take us, and said that the our first guy had lost his keys and was searching in the dark for them! Hmmmm! Not sure what was going on we were about to hail a completly different rickshaw when our original guy complete with rickshaw appeared. He explained that the cheeky second guy had infact stolen his keys and given them to the milkman and told him to keep them until we got in his rickshaw! Amazingly they both seemed to think the whole thing was hilarious. Rajid then talked non-stop to Mikey for the entire journey telling him the sorry story of many other catastrophes that had befallen him in in 25 years as a rickshaw driver. He waited patiently in the cold outside while we had a delicious Italian meal though so we gave him a big tip and promised to use him for the duration of our stay in Jaipur.
Driving back to the hotel, the cold air and pretty looking wood fires burning to keep people warm on the streets made it actually seem Christmassy for the first time in India.

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